I Don’t Want to be a Graphic Artist

I don’t like the label “graphic artist.”

It’s not that I have something against people who are graphic artists. Many use the terms “graphic designer” and “artist” interchangeably. But, the reality is, that title doesn’t apply to me.

Why? Because artists just operate on a different plane than normal people. They view the world differently. They see from a unique perspective. I have a friend who is this way. He is a phenomenal painter. His portraits (of which I have been a subject of many) are so realistic and beautiful. But it’s not just his work, it’s the way he thinks. It is the way he approaches life and art that makes him… well, an artist.

And I don’t see myself in that category.

That is why I prefer “designer.”

According to Merriam-Webster a “designer” is someone “who plans how something new will look and be made.” And if you look at the definition of “design” it says “to plan and make decisions about something that is being built or created.”

For example, my job title during the week is “graphic designer.” But that doesn’t mean I sit around at my computer all day creating images to share on Instagram or creating ads for event journals. It means I have to critically think through size specifications, photography from events, copy changes and edits, juggling time-sensitive deadlines, and managing relationships between departments. My job revolves more around making design-centered decisions rather than creating the beautiful works of art.¬†Sometimes that process culminates in beautiful works of art. But other times it just moves the ball down the field for the team.

I believe I stand at a crossroads; I believe design is stands at a crossroads. An intersection of beauty and function, art and strategy, speaking the language of artists and bridging the gap to those who don’t think of themselves as such. It funnels creativity and filters ideas into a cohesive message, and it encourages imagination and dreams up new, innovative directions to go.

Because design is all about the planning; design is all about the process.

And the world needs more designers. Not artists who think they are designers, but true designers who solve problems by marrying beauty and function, who change the world with stunning simplicity, and alter the course of movements through insightful thinking.

Because designers make the artists’s world a reality.

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3 comments
  1. I’ve had this discussion so many times! Great stuff.

    • Garrison said:

      Thanks Simon! It’s the first time I’ve been able to put into words what has been rattling around in my head. Raw thoughts that aren’t really polished but it’s the best I’ve got right now!

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